Today: Friday, 12 April 2024 year

Vietnam War massacre victim wins trial in South Korea.

Vietnam War massacre victim wins trial in South Korea.

The Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a Vietnamese citizen seeking compensation from the South Korean government for the loss of family members and injuries sustained in the 1968 massacre of civilians by the South Korean military during the Vietnam War.

The court’s decision marked the first such case in which a South Korean court found the government responsible for paying compensation to the victims of the 1968 massacre in Phong Nhu village in Quang Nam province, Vietnam. Then, about 70 people died allegedly at the hands of the military personnel of the 2nd Marine Brigade of the Republic of Korea, which participated in the Vietnam War.

A murder survivor filed a damage claim against the South Korean government in 2020, seeking compensation of around 30 million won (nearly $24,000). She claimed that she had lost members of her family as a result of the massacre and that she herself had received gunshot wounds. On Tuesday, the court ruled that South Korea must pay her the requested amount, along with interest.

The court rejected the South Korean government’s argument that a Vietnamese citizen could not claim damages from South Korea under the relevant agreement signed between Vietnam, South Korea and the United States. Also dismissed were claims by the South Korean government that the involvement of South Korean military personnel in the killings was not clearly proven, or that it was a justified act given the realities of the Vietnam War.

“It is accepted that members of the plaintiff’s family died on the spot and she was seriously injured … as a result of gunfire from the (South Korean) Marine Corps,” the court said, calling the incident a “clearly unlawful act.”

Lawyers and the plaintiff herself hailed the decision as the first recognition by an official South Korean body of massacres of civilians during the Vietnam War.

At the same time, it is not yet known whether the South Korean Ministry of Defense will file an appeal, but there is such a possibility.